Concentration is the technique where a person can focus on one particular thing by mental effort and undisturbed mind. The art of concentration is the way to help the mind to be able to focus. Hindu religion and tradition has been in the forefront of developing this art, as it is the only religion besides Buddhism to support the art of meditation. Meditation is a process performed by concentration to achieve and learn the ultimate knowledge through self-observance, in spiritually thinking – being enlightened.
Some of the essential ancient practices of the art of concentration done in Hindu tradition and society are listed as below.
1. Chanting OM (ॐ ) Mantra
A Mantra is a syllable or word, usually without any specific meaning, that is repeated for the goal of concentrating the mind. It is not an affirmation used to convince of something. One of the most important syllables is “OM” or “AUM”, which when chanting repeatedly creates the vibration that lets the mind fix concentration on one word and experience a deeper level of awareness. In keeping the mantra of OM, the sound becomes more and more abstract and indistinct.
Deep level of consciousness is experienced after some time of continuation usually the number is fixed to 108 counts and 1008 in advance form. It also has the psychological benefit that grows positive qualities within oneself and helps people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Om mantra is considered to be the simplest form of concentration practice as it is easier to focus with the mantra than with the breathing. A person should sit still with erect spine and closed legs, and with closed eyes. Some use mala or necklace of 108 beads to help with the counting.
2. Third Eye Method
This method is to focus with eyes closed with any posture at the center of two eyebrows in the forehead. The attention is always redirected to this point avoiding unnecessary thoughts, as a means to silence the mind. By time the “silent gaps” between thoughts get wider and deeper. Sometimes this is accompanied by physically “looking”, with eyes closed, towards that spot.
This technique is to concentrate on one of the seven chakras of the body i.e., Muladhara (base of the spine), Svadhisthana (just below the navel), Manipura (stomach area), Anahata (center of the chest), Vishuddha (base of the throat), Ajna (between the eyebrows) and Sahasrara (top of the head).
This is the kind to concentrate on an external object specially lit candle, image or a symbol. It is done open eyes gazing at a fixed object and then closing them but still viewing the object in the mind. This helps with both the concentration and visualization powers.
This basically lies on yoga category but helps a lot in the focus of the mind. This is divided into 4 steps with 4 seconds of each. One is inhale with the nose for 4 seconds, then hold the breath for 4 seconds and breathe out through the mouth for 4 seconds, then stop for 4 seconds. This can be done anywhere and it is to be noted that the abdomen moves and not the chest while breathing. It is needed to watch the abdomen being large during inhalation and small during exhalation.
When practicing these few concentration exercises daily, concentration is believed to enhance and develop with a great result. It is of the utmost value to learn how to focus because any task can be done successfully or appropriately only with full concentration or by putting entire thought upon the idea of working out.
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